Tag Archives: moral judgment

M. E. Thomas

In every [law] course we took, our casebooks were filled with outrageous stories of fraud, deceit, and oppression, demonstrations of how deeply and creatively human beings can wrong each other. Once in a while some story would prove too much for my classmates, and they would collectively become incensed, getting visibly upset over things that had happened decades or centuries ago to dead strangers. Watching them, I was fascinated but nervous. These people apparently felt something that I did not. From such outrage, I heard the most ridiculous suggestions for my classmates’ illogical, knee-jerk calls for vigilantism, in complete disregard for the carefully balanced scales of justice. When my classmates could no longer identify with the child molesters and the rapists in the pages of our casebooks, they allowed righteous anger to determine their decision-making, applying a different set of rules to those people they considered morally reprehensible than they did to people they considered good, like them. Sitting in class, I saw how the rules changed when people reached the limits of empathy.

M. E. Thomas, Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, London, 2013, p. 173

Gerd Gigerenzer

[H]euristics provide explanations of actual behavior; they are not normative ideals. Their existence, however, poses normative questions.

Gerd Gigerenzer, ‘Moral Intuition = Fast and Frugal Heuristics?’, in Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 2: The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008, p. 5